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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Joint Committee on Transportation

Joint Committee on Transportation
State House, Room 134, Boston, MA
(617) 722-2400


Thomas McGee   William Straus
Senate Chair
  House Chair

Committee Rules for 2013-2014


  1. Public Hearings
    1.  All petitions referred to the Committee shall be given a public hearing, by the Committee Chairs except as herein provided.  Upon mutual agreement, the Committee Chairs may agree to discharge bills assigned to the Committee or otherwise dispose of bills assigned to the Committee by electronic or voice poll.  Public hearings may be held in the absence of a quorum.
    2. The Senate Chair and House Chair shall agree between themselves who will chair each hearing.  In the absence of both Chairpersons, the Vice Chair present or a Committee member designated by a Chair shall conduct hearing.
    3. All cell phones and pagers must be turned off or silenced during hearings and executive sessions.  The Chairmen must be notified in advance and may approve the use of electronic recording devices at a public hearing or executive session.
    4. All Persons testifying before the Committee shall furnish the following information to the Committee:
      1. Name
      2. Organization
      3. Address
      4. Telephone number
      5. Bill number and subject matter on which the person is testifying
      6. Whether proponent or opponent of the subject matter or bill
    5. All questions put to persons testifying before the Committee shall be pertinent to the subject matter before the Committee.  The pertinence of the subject matter shall be determined by the Chairmen.
    6. The presiding Chair, or acting presiding member (hereafter “the Chair”), shall use his or her discretion in scheduling the order in which proposals shall be heard at any public hearing or executive session of the Committee.
    7. No one shall be allowed to speak at any meeting without first being recognized by the Chair.  The Chair shall use discretion in setting a time limit for oral testimony.  All questions by members of the Committee to persons testifying before the Committee shall be addressed through the Chair and shall be pertinent to the subject matter before the Committee.  The Chairmen may, if necessary, limit the time of questioning by each member after giving due consideration to the importance of the subject matter, the number of petitions scheduled for hearing, and the length of time available to the Committee.
    8. Each member of the Committee will receive, electronically, a schedule of the public hearings on legislation referred to the committee.  The schedule will group legislation by category, noting the hearing date, time and location.  Each member of the committee will be notified electronically of any public hearing or executive session at least 36 hours prior to the meeting date, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.


  2. Executive Session
    1. Executive sessions may be scheduled after each public hearing and at other appropriate times.  Whenever an executive session is held at a time other than on the day of a public hearing, each member of the Committee shall be furnished with adequate advance notice (See Part A, 8) of the date, time, place and subject of such executive session.
    2. No executive session may be held in the absence of either Committee Chair, except by mutual agreement of both Chairs.  The Chair presiding will have general supervision of the executive session.
    3. All executive sessions of the Committee shall be open to the public unless the Committee, in accordance with Joint Rule 1A, votes to close such sessions.
    4. A majority vote of the members present at the executive session shall constitute the recommendations of the Committee.
    5. Any member of the Committee shall have the right to be recorded as dissenting from or abstaining from the Committee recommendation provided that the Committee Chairs have been informed of this desire by the end of the executive session.
    6. Upon a motion made by any member of the Committee in attendance at an executive session and seconded by another member of the Committee in attendance, a poll of the full Committee shall be taken to determine the recommendation of the full Committee on any specific matter before said Committee.  In the event that a poll is taken the members shall be given 24 hours to respond to the poll.  The votes of the majority of those members responding to the poll shall constitute the recommendation of the committee.  The House and Senate Chairs may waive the 24 hour notice requirement for polls. 
    7. In lieu of an executive session, the Senate and House Chairs, by mutual agreement, may conduct a poll of each Committee member to determine the recommendation of the Committee on any specific petition. A reasonable amount of time, as determined by the Chairs, shall be given for members to record their votes, and the deadline for recording votes shall be announced to each member. All votes received prior to the closing of the poll shall be recorded on the appropriate form and the record of all such roll calls shall be kept in the offices of the Committee and shall be available for public inspection.
    8. The Committee Chairs shall determine the branch of the Legislature to which a report or redraft shall be sent.

  3. Adoptions and Suspensions
    1. These rules shall be adopted by a majority vote of Committee members.
    2. Except for Part B, #2, any rule may be suspended by a two-thirds vote of Committee members present and voting.